Training for real: matching employer needs to training supply

For 40 years, the Water, Engineering and Development Centre of Loughborough University has trained engineers in the practical requirements for infrastructure services in low- and middle-income countries. This was started to rectify a mismatch between what was being taught in universities and what was being done in practice. Often this gap was addressed by ad hoc, uncoordinated, costly and often ineffective training courses. This mismatch is still apparent and so researchers explored why training providers are not meeting employers' needs. The action research went behind training needs analysis to examine the dialogue between the 'suppliers' (universities) and the 'demands' of the employers (local authorities and water utilities), across the water and sanitation sector in Uganda, through a series of forums, interviews, workshop appraisals and case studies, as well as trialling innovative training techniques. The research identified areas for improvement, especially in the area of employer engagement, skill needs and the management of human resource development.